OAKLAND, Calif. - The concrete dump currently known as O.co Coliseum has not aged well, with overflowing sewage last year and early this year among the more serious issues.
"It's one of the older ballparks,'' Yankees manager Joe Girardi said, "and sometimes with older ballparks, you're going to have some challenges."
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Saturday night brought another reminder that the building's best days were at least two decades ago, as an embankment of lights in leftfield caused a 38-minute delay in the fourth inning. Girardi said the light embankment never came on and that he first noticed it in the second inning. A's manager Bob Melvin spoke to the umpires about it in the fourth.
It was an odd occurrence in an otherwise forgettable night for the Yankees, who had only three hits in a 5-1 loss to the A's in front of a sellout crowd of 36,067 as their winning streak ended at four games.
With his team in a 2-1 hole, Hiroki Kuroda took the mound in the bottom of the fourth and was throwing his warm-up pitches when the game was held up. For much of the 38-minute delay, the umpires and managers stood and stared at the dark embankment, as if doing so would make the lights come on.
Kuroda did not seem unnerved by the delay, retiring the A's in order in the fourth. His fifth did not go nearly as well.
Kuroda walked the No. 9 hitter, Eric Sogard, to start the inning and Coco Crisp followed with a bunt down the third-base line that looked as it had a chance to trickle foul. Kelly Johnson charged and grabbed it in fair territory, however, and his throw was not close to getting Crisp. "In hindsight, after watching the replay, it would have been nice to let it roll,'' Johnson said. "My instinct said to try and make a play."
After John Ryan Murphy's passed ball put runners on second and third, first baseman Brian McCann made a fine diving stop of John Jaso's ground smash and got the out at first as Sogard scored. Another passed ball by Murphy made it 4-1. Said Kuroda, "I tried to be too perfect. I got behind a lot [of hitters], so it was a struggle."
Kuroda said of the delay, "I did not think too much about it," but Girardi said, "I don't think it really helps a guy to have a 40-minute delay.''
McCann was in Girardi's original lineup as the catcher, but Mark Teixeira was scratched about 30 minutes before the game because of what the Yankees called "tightness" in his left rib cage. Teixeira said his injury "definitely" is not an oblique. "I've pulled an oblique before,'' he said. "It's not that . . . I woke up this morning, it was tight and it slowly got worse."
He added, "It's in my mid-back, kind of below the left shoulder. Hopefully it's just a one-day thing. You get muscle spasms. Sometimes they're worse than others. Today was pretty bad."
Scott Kazmir (8-2, 2.05) allowed an unearned run and three hits in six innings and helped to end Jacoby Ellsbury's hitting streak at 17 games. Kuroda (4-5, 4.32) gave up four runs and five hits in 42/3 innings.
Kuroda ran into trouble in a 29-pitch second. With two outs and a man on first, Stephen Vogt singled and No. 8 hitter Andy Parrino walked to load the bases. Sogard, who came in hitting .197, lined a two-run single that made it 2-0.
With two outs and a man on first in the top of the third, Brett Gardner singled and Derek Jeter followed with a grounder to short. Parrino ranged to his left and fielded the ball but threw it about five feet over Brandon Moss' head at first, with Johnson scoring on the error to make it 2-1. Kazmir walked Ellsbury to load the bases but got out of it when Alfonso Soriano grounded into a 6-5 forceout.
Parrino added an RBI double off David Huff in the sixth.